The Kinder program at Oak Hill has an academic focus, however, we provide many opportunities for social interaction, open-ended art and play periods, dramatic play, blocks, books, and movement activities that are inherent in most kindergarten classrooms.  

Children learn joyfully through purposeful play and discovery.

The Language Arts are taught using a multimodal approach. There is an emphasis on reading readiness skills, the alphabetic principle, letter recognition and writing, guided reading, authentic writing workshops, and multi-sensory handwriting. American Sign Language is utilized through songs, poetry, and nursery rhymes to enrich the experience of language. Children read, write, listen to each other, and learn from one another every day.

Every child deserves to be immersed in enriching, joyful, and meaningful literacy experiences.

In Mathematics, children learn number sense, numeration, computation, probability, measurement, patterning, functions, and algebra, all within the context of age appropriate and interactive games, projects, and hands-on fun!

All children in kindergarten deserve to begin writing using proven strategies. Within the context of learning to write, we incorporate systematic phonemic awareness, and phonics instruction so children can learn skills that facilitate the connection between their prior knowledge of oral language to the newly acquired written language.

Science and social studies are integrated in short thematic units throughout the school year, and are generally predicated on seasonal and/or student interests. A few of our themes in kindergarten are; Friendship, Family, Animals, Habitats, Insects, the Earth, and the Garden.

Many parents are eager to know how they can help their child prepare for kindergarten. Reading aloud to your child helps build the foundation for later reading success. It helps build that connection between the spoken word and the written word, and it paves the way for understanding the connection between letters and sounds, or phonemic awareness, which is an early indicator of future reading success.

When choosing books for reading aloud, look for those with interesting language patterns. The repetition of poetry and nursery rhymes (Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss) are wonderful ways to engage your young child. If your child memorizes stories and rhymes early, rejoice in knowing that memorization helps foster performance skills, and also heightens phonemic awareness and cognitive language connections.

Learning the alphabet is another important first step. Mastery of the alphabetic principle is key to learning to read and write. Since the two best indicators for predicting success in kindergarten are phonemic awareness and letter-sound recognition, you can see how important it is to practice some of these activities with your child in a fun way every day.

Most children enjoy developing a gradual sense of independence over time. Providing plenty of opportunities to be independent before school will optimize your child’s sense of self-mastery and esteem. Here are some simple things that you can help your child do that will promote and encourage your child’s feelings of self-worth and growing independence;

•  help with easy chores around the house

•  set the table and fold the napkins

•  sort the silverware and the socks

•  put on their own clothes and jackets

•  clean up after themselves

•  help them learn to write their name, and learn their phone number

Encouraging your child’s best efforts, rather than perfection, will promote an attitude of, “Yes, I can!”

My belief is that a nurturing kindergarten experience promotes a healthy social-emotional introduction to school, and helps to create joyful school memories. Kindergarten is a magical journey, and a place to create memorable rituals, traditions, and celebrations that honor childhood.

I strive to make school a place children love coming to each and every day.

Kathy Westervelt, Kindergarten Teacher
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